Some individuals "in the Counterjihad" will assert, almost with relish, that there is "no love" in the Koran. Recently in Paltalk chat, when one such individual brought up that meme anew, I thought I would definitively settle the issue.
For this purpose (as for many others), the website "YAQUB" (a clever acronym for "Yet Another Qur'an Browser") proves useful. All one has to do is type "love" in the search box there, and this yields a total of 362 instances of "love" in the Koran. It should be noted that YAQUB provides the reader with ten different translations of the Koran, six by Muslims of various periods of time over the past 200 years (mostly 20th century), and four by non-Muslim Western scholars and/or Arabists. Thus, when one searches for an English word, such as "love", it is obviously "love" as rendered, as a translation choice, by one or more (or all) of the Koran translators in question.
So, at first glance, the reader might say, "Wow, 362 mentions of 'love' in the Koran! That's a lot! I guess all those friendly, moderate Muslims I've anecdotally encountered in recent years are right about the Koran being a very spiritual book and all those greasy Islamophobes are just exaggerating how bad Islam is...!" Hold your camels, I say; not so fast, Speedy Gonzales. One can't settle the issue by the mere enumeration of incidences of the word. One must examine the textual context, one by one, to see whether any given instance is actually loving in the deeper, beneficent sense being alleged by Islamopologists.
So what did I find? No surprise; despite what Islamopologists (whether Muslims or Western useful Idiots) claim, not one of the 362 mentions of "love" in the Koran is promoting and/or extolling the classical Western sense of love.
Let's run through some of them now (in numerical order which, of course, is not the chronological order of the suras):
2:92 "Do ye then, every time an apostle comes to you with what your souls love not, proudly scorn him..."
2:93 (condemning those who love idols)
2:165 (ditto + Muslims love Allah more than anything else)
2:177 (love of money is bad)
2:190 (Allah does NOT love those who transgress limits)
2:205 (Allah does NOT love those who foment Fasad)
2:216 (Fighting and killing is ordained for you Muslims, and though you HATE it, think about how you can LOVE something that is bad for you -- Allah knows what's good for you, you don't)
2:276 (Allah does NOT love the Kafir)
2:276 (Allah does NOT love the Kafir and the atheist -- kaffarin atheemin)
3:7 (the perverse who love to disagree and reject the Koran)
3:14 (the love ["lust" or "pleasure" ] men have for women and children, sums of heaped up silver and gold, and excellent horses and cattle -- this is the provision of this life)
3:31 [Allah talking to Muhammad] ("SAY [to the people]: 'If ye love God, then follow me: God will love you, and forgive your sins, for God is Forgiving, Merciful' ") / 3.32 ("Say: Obey Allah and the messenger. But if they turn away, lo! Allah loveth NOT the disbelievers") / 3.57 (Allah does NOT love the "evil-doers")
3:32 "Allah does NOT love the Unbelievers" (al-Kafireena)
3:57 "Allah does NOT love the unjust"
I think that's quite enough for the the reader to get the dreary point the Koran is making. From this point, instead of itemizing the remaining 300+ verses, I will report when -- or if -- any of them actually touch on love in the positive, classic sense -- rather than promulgating how God does NOT love someone or something, or how some men are loving the wrong thing, or commending certain men for loving the God who does NOT love x, y and z. Etc.
As an example of what I bracket out, there is 3:102 -- "...for you were enemies and He [Allah] joined your hearts in love..." That certainly sounds good at first blush; however, only two of the ten translators add the "in love" part, while all the others merely emphasize how God joined the hearts of the believers into unanimity, indicating that the "in love" is an embellishment. And secondly, there's no other indication that the "love" referred to here is anything distinct from a fanatical tribalism by which psychopaths could feel they have achieved a mutual solidarity. (Ditto for 3:148, where Allah says (describing himself in the 3rd person) that he "loves those who do good" -- which then elicits the question, what is "good" in this context? One could just as well say that Adolf Hitler or Charles Manson "love those who do good"; so, without positive content for this word "good", one ought not to rush to gush at how loving the Muslim God is. And cf. 5:54, where it says Allah loves those who are kind to fellow Muslims (viz., "Believers") and harsh toward the non-Muslims (al-Kafireena).)
Similarly, 19:96: "But as for those who believe and do good works, the Merciful [Allah] will bestow on them love." Since there is no positive content explaining what this "love" is that Allah bestows on his Muslims (with no help from the verses immediately before and after), it would not be unreasonable to suppose it is just a reinforcement of the fanatical supremacism and tribalism with which the Koran positively drips.
On the way to my final report, as I read all these 300+ Koran verses (cue David Letterman shudder), I may pause to note certain interesting things. Such as, for example, Koran 3:119:
Lo! You are the ones who love them but they love you not, and you believe in all the Scriptures [i.e. you believe in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), while they disbelieve in your Book, the Qur'an]. And when they meet you, they say, "We believe". But when they are alone, they bite the tips of their fingers at you in rage. Say: "Die in your rage. Certainly, Allah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets)."
It struck me that this verse parallels, by way of contrast, the famous verses in Matthew, 5:43-45:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Notice how the Koran verse above begins with Allah observing that his Believers (the "you" He's addressing) love those who don't love them; but as the verse unfolds, it's clear that those people ("them") don't deserve to be loved, and indeed Allah tells his Believers to berate them with the lovely phrase, "Die in your rage." This is remarkably contrary to the spirit of the Gospel in Matthew (quoted above; and also notably in Luke 6:27-31).
Now, let's take a look at 14:3:
Who love this world's life better than the next, and turn folks from the path of God, and crave to make it crooked; these are in remote error.
This verse uses "love" in a way quite reminiscent of Jesus in the Gospels in terms of, for example, John 12:25:
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
Whether the Koran verse is meant in the same spirit would have to be ascertained by a fuller context and knowledge of the Koran as a whole. Of course, given the Koran as I've read it, I reasonably aver that it's not in the same spirit, since the broader understandings of "this world" and "the next world" in Islam consistently evoke a perennial battlefield that includes hating, fighting and killing (and terrorizing) the non-Muslim in order to gain a Paradise of eternal sex with ludicrously created sexbots, so to speak -- indeed reducing the transcendent love articulated in Christian history (e.g., Augustine, Dante, Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, and so many others) to the rutting of goats.
Koran 30:21 again appears to be getting warm for our quest:
"And of His signs is that He created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you might repose in them, and He has set between you love and mercy. Surely in that are signs for a people who consider."
[Other translators have "love and tenderness", "affection and pity", etc.] The context is some vague allusion to Allah generally as the Creator and early history of Mankind consequent upon the Genesis story. The verse, nonetheless, has no positive content informing the word "love" as translated (from mawaddah). Here, it would not be unreasonable to limit it to a familial warmth that helps sustain the family unit (the smallest organizing cell of the Umma), without any of the deeper dimensions explored and unfolded throughout Western history. (Similarly, 42:23, where Allah enjoins upon his Muslims filial love for their kin.)
Again, 59:9 appears to be nice, in that Allah enjoins upon the Muslims who took over Medina to "love" those who immigrate back in from among those whom they [the Muslims in Medina] had expelled; however, verse 8 makes it clear that it is limiting that category of immigrants to those who show they seek the "goodwill" of Allah -- i.e., potential converts to Islam (or at least good dhimmis).
Then we have the infamous verse, 60:1, which essentially has Allah telling his followers (i.e., Muslims) to reject the enemy of God and not show kindness toward them:
"O true believers, take not my enemy and your enemy for [your] friends, shewing kindness toward them..."
It even goes on, for good measure, to emphasize that:
"If you mobilize to struggle ["jihad" of course] in My cause [or: "If you go forth to struggle in My way..."], seeking My blessings, how can you secretly love them? I am fully aware of everything you conceal, and everything you declare. Those among you who do this have indeed strayed off the right path."
Needless to say, this is the proverbial antithesis of the aforementioned Gospel verses of Matthew and Luke.
Now, 76:8 looks promising:
"And they feed, for love of Him [Allah], the poor, the orphan and the prisoner..."
However, our expectations are considerably deflated when we learn that in Islam, obligatory charity (zakat) for the unfortunate is only for fellow Muslims, not for non-Muslims. While there is in Islam a separate category of "voluntary charity" (sadaqah), being voluntary, it's evidently a weaker form sociopolitically & psychologically than the obligatory form. And even of the voluntary form, we see Muslim statements such as the following:
"Giving charity to poor Muslims is preferable and more befitting, because spending on them helps them to obey Allaah, and it helps them in both their worldly and spiritual affairs. This helps to strengthen the bonds among Muslims..."
And this is assuming that 76:8 is even referring to voluntary charity, rather than to the obligatory zakat.
Similarly, 85:14 sounds good -- "And He [Allah] is Oft-Forgiving, full of love..." -- and yet the Muslim translators Hilali-Khan have to go and ruin it with their helpful parenthetical gloss: "(towards the pious who are real true believers of Islamic Monotheism)".
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Well, we're done reviewing the 362 verses of "love" in the Koran; and all through, no sight of anything unquestionably resembling Graeco-Roman, Judaeo-Christian, or Modern Romantic love, let alone Buddhist traditions of love (maitri) and compassion (karuna).
While this isn't the time or place for a comparative religions (or comparative civilizations) exercise, it would be meet at least to cleanse the palate from our Qur'anoscopy and remind ourselves of healthier testaments to what proved to be auscultations in vain.
For example, the first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 1-13, on the qualities of love (or "charity" as the King James Bible has it, the rather archaic English rendering of the Greek agape, one of the many Greek words for "love"):
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And if I shall dole out all my goods in food, and if I deliver up my body that I may be burned, but have not love, I profit nothing.
Love has long patience, is kind; love is not emulous of others; love is not insolent and rash, is not puffed up, does not behave in an unseemly manner, does not seek what is its own, is not quickly provoked, does not impute evil, does not rejoice at iniquity but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but whether prophecies, they shall be done away; or tongues, they shall cease; or knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part: but when that which is perfect has come, that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I reasoned as a child; when I became a man, I had done with what belonged to the child. For we see now through a dim window obscurely, but then face to face; now I know partially, but then I shall know according as I also have been known.
And now abide faith, hope, love; these three things; and the greater of these is love.